Every season there is curiosity around which player is going break into the first team. For Arsenal, in the last couple of years, they have had three standout performers do this.
The first is England star Bukayo Saka and along with him was Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli. Last season, it was the emergence of Emile Smith-Rowe which proved to be one of the highlights.
As we head into 2021/22, it is natural to wonder who the next player will be. So, here are five names that are on the verge of having their breakthrough.
It might sound a bit odd to put the Ivorian in this category, but he has not been able to fully explode into life. Based on the latter half of last season, the time is now for the 26-year-old to light up north London.
Having scored 16 goals in 2020/21, Pepe will have the confidence to do better and show why the Gunners splashed the cash on him. If he can improve his record in the upcoming season, Arsenal will be delighted.
After two seasons in England, the winger has finally adapted to his surroundings. We can expect big things from the no. 19 who looks to establish himself further.
Another name that you might not have expected to see in this list. The Englishman had his breakthrough after joining Newcastle United on loan earlier this year.
After an outstanding few months in Tyneside, it is time for him to showcase that form for the Emirates club. Mikel Arteta will be happy with how the midfielder has developed and the stage is set to make a bigger impact.
Someone who plays in midfield and can score goals is a boon for any team. If the Gunners make use of Willock’s unique skillset, it could be another campaign to remember.
One of the forgotten men at the club, Nelson has been with the north Londoners for a long time. A loan spell in Germany made him a more complete player but he has not been able to make an impact like the way Smith-Rowe did.
The winger has seen his path blocked by better and more experienced players but that could change next season. Arteta has used the 21-year-old in the past, as someone who can make a difference in attack. Nelson is a player capable of changing the momentum of a game and if used more, will show his quality.
The Englishman is a highly-rated striker who could be the next Hale End graduate to make his mark. After signing a contract extension in April, the 19-year-old will expect more chances to come his way.
And in the brief number of games that Balogun has played, he showed what an intelligent player he is. Operating with a maturity that belies his age, the youngster could have a bigger role to play next season.
The Frenchman’s breakthrough depends on whether he will be given a chance by the manager. If it does happen, we can finally see why the Gunners bought him back in 2019.
A loan spell with Nice in France showed what a good player he can be, and the 20-year-old will be itching to do the same at the Emirates stadium. Though he could move away, there is a lot of potential in the youngster which should be utilised. The upcoming pre-season games may be his chance to show Arteta he deserves the boss’ faith.
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Whenever a player breaks through, it bodes well for the stature of the club. As we head into next season, there is an opportunity for any of these five players to stake their claim and whoever does so will help the Gunners win games and that is what matters the most.
Arsenal can bolster their squad by making a few signings, but the next star might already be among their ranks. Fans will hope to see someone take the mantle from the likes of Saka, Martinelli and Smith-Rowe.
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